Report from Israel

I arrived in Israel yesterday, Monday as a member of a delegation of conservative rabbis and lay leaders from the US.  I had not planned to be a part of this trip, sponsored by Masorti, the conservative movement in Israel.  However after the shellings in Israel and the Pillar of Defense campaign by the IDF, …

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My High Holiday Message to Other Rabbis

As Chairman of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America, I recently sent a message to my colleagues, rabbis from all movements across the country. I thought it would be of interest to you, as it reflects my thinking about how I approach the holidays. It captures my philosophy and how I …

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The Last First Day

I have been thinking a great deal about the significance of this day, for it marks the end of a 29 year streak.  It is the last time I will bless one of my children as they go off for the first day of school.   Since September of 1983 when my oldest son left …

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Christians in Israel

In 2012 I wrote letters objecting to the CBS 60 Minutes story about Christians in Israel and a column by Fareed Zakaria.  My response and letters follow:      I am writing to express my outrage over the extremely biased reporting in the recent story by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes about the status of …

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An Idea for an SNL Shtick

May 5, 2012   I haven’t checked to see if tonight’s broadcast of Saturday Night Live is a rerun or a new show.  But if it is a new one, I have a great idea for a shtick they can use tonight.  (As some of you may know, my true fantasy is to be “discovered” …

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Bringing Torah to the Capitol

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg.  Wallenberg was the Swedish diplomat stationed in Hungary during World War II, who at the risk of his own life, issued false and forged documents which saved thousands of Jews from being sent to Nazi extermination and concentration camps.  Tragically, after World War …

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Back from Budapest

I just recently returned from the Jewish Federations of North America Rabbinic Cabinet Mission to Budapest, Hungary and Israel. As the chairman of the Rabbinic Cabinet I was especially excited about our trip, as I had helped to plan the agenda and set up a number of our meetings. It was important that the trip …

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Rabbi’s Report on Hungary

How to capture the full range of thoughts and emotions of a day packed with visits that started with a shaharit service at the Frankel Utca Synagogue in Budapest and concluded with ma’ariv in the beautiful spacious living room at the residence of the American ambassador to Hungary.   After breakfast and remarks by a …

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Thinking about Youlus

Trust is built on truth, and both are rare commodities.   Who would have thought that a kind, good-natured, physically unimposing, seemingly well-intentioned rabbi could have succeeded in deceiving so many for so long? He seemed so unpretentious.   Who would have thought not to believe a person who purported to go on daring missions, …

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The Joy of Giving

A woman from out of town recently attended shabbat services for the bar or bat mitzvah of the grandchild of a friend of hers.   She approached me after services and inquired about a sign she saw in our building. She recognized the names of the people for whom the kitchen is named – Sophie …

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